Pope: Many Christians worldwide suffer for their faith, I am close to them with admiration and prayer
At the Sunday Angelus, Francis speaks of Jesus 'discourse ' about the end of time" and in unscripted remarks recalls the "brothers and sisters in many parts of the world who are still persecuted for their fidelity to Jesus. There are many, perhaps more than in the first centuries, we are close to them with our hearts and prayers”. After the Marian prayer, the Pope announces the distribution of Misericordina in the square : a small box containing a Rosary , "spiritual medicine" 59 beaded steps that "is good for all of our lives ."

Vatican City ( AsiaNews ) - Many Christians worldwide suffer for their fidelity to Christ, perhaps more "today than in the first centuries . We are close to them with prayer and admiration, are brothers and sisters in the faith. Pray for them, we all pray for them", said the Pope during the Angelus today, developing on his comments on the Gospel passage that recounts Jesus description of "the end times" in Jerusalem. The Pope urged people not to place their trust in "gurus, false messiahs and sorcerers" who are "still" present in our world. And before he bid farewell to the faithful "I would suggest "a special medicine, called Misericordina. The Pope is not your pharmacist, but I invite you to take this little box that contains the Rosary and pray: it's good for us all."

The evangelist Luke writes, says the Pope, that the speech is pronounced by Christ "near the temple, and he was inspired by the people who talked about the temple and its beauty . Because it was beautiful at the time. Then Jesus said "the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down" (Lk 21:6) . Of course they ask : When will this happen? What will the signs be? But Jesus shifts the focus from these secondary aspects - when will it be? What will it be like? - the real issues . There are two. Firstly, do not be fooled by false messiahs and do not be paralyzed by fear. Second: live the time of waiting as a time of witness and perseverance . And we are in this time of waiting for the coming of the Lord".

Jesus' discourse, the Pope immediately adds, "is always current, even for us who live in the XXI century. He tells us :"Take heed that you not be deceived . Many will come in my name" ( v. 8).  It is a call to discernment, this Christian virtue to understand the difference between the spirit of the Lord and the spirit of evil. Even today, in fact, there are false " saviors" , who attempt to substitute leaders of this world, holy men , even sorcerers for Jesus, people who want to attract hearts and minds, especially of young people, to themselves. Jesus warns us: "Do not follow them".  And the Lord also helps us to not be afraid when faced with wars , revolutions , but also to natural disasters , epidemics, Jesus frees us from fatalism and false apocalyptic visions . "

The second aspect is a challenge for us as Christians and the Church: Jesus speaks of the painful trials and persecutions that his disciples will have to suffer because of Him . However promises: "Not a hair of your head will perish " ( v.18 ) . In short , said Francis, "reminds us that we are totally in the hands of God! The adversity we meet for our faith and our commitment to the Gospel are occasions of testimony and they should not turn us away from the Lord, but force us to abandon ourselves to Him even more, to the power of his Spirit and his grace. At this time, my thoughts and all our thoughts - let's do it together - go to so many Christian brothers and sisters who suffer persecution because of their faith. There are many of them, perhaps many more of the early centuries. Jesus is with them, and also we are united with them with our prayers and our love . We admire their courage and testimony. They are our brothers and sisters, who in many parts of the world suffer for their fidelity to Jesus Christ. We send them our heartfelt greetings and our affection. "

In the end, Jesus makes a promise that is a guarantee of victory: "By your perseverance you will secure your lives" ( v.19 ) . How much hope in these words! They are a reminder of the hope and patience, to be able to wait for the fruits of salvation certain, confident in the profound sense of life and of history: the trials and difficulties are part of a bigger picture , and the Lord , the Lord of history, leads all to its fulfillment . Despite the turmoil and disasters that affect the world, God's  plan of goodness and mercy will be fulfilled ! And this is our hope. Travelling this road, the road of God, it will be accomplished. This message makes us reflect on our present and gives us the strength to face it with courage and hope , in the company of Mary, who always walks with us.

Immediately after the Marian prayer, the Pope pronounced his usual Sunday greetings: "I greet all of you , families , associations and groups , who have come from Rome , Italy , from many parts of the world : Spain, France, Finland, the Netherlands. In particular , I greet the pilgrims from Vercelli, Salerno, Lizzanello ; Lucaniadi Motoclub, the young people from Monte Cassino and Caserta. The Eritrean community in Rome who are celebrating the feast of St. Michael: sI send you all my heartfelt greeting. Today is also the 'day of road deaths ' .I assure you of my prayers and encourage you to persevere in the prevention, because prudence and respect for the rules of the road are the first form of protection for oneself and others. "

Before bidding everyone farewell , the Pope recalled the end of the Year of Faith and announced an unusual initiative: "I would now recommend to all of you here in the square a medicine : some people think that the Pope is trying to be a pharmacist ... It is a special medicine to realize the fruits of the Year of Faith, which is drawing to a close. Its a medicine of 59 beaded grains : it is a spiritual medicine called Misericordina . It is kept in a box , which some volunteers will distribute as you leave the square. Take it : it is a Rosary , with which you can pray the 'chaplet of Divine Mercy ' , pearl of our soul and spiritual help to spread love , forgiveness and brotherhood everywhere. Do not forget to take it, because it does us good: the heart, the soul, our whole life! I wish you all a good Sunday. Have a good lunch and good-bye . "

 

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